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INTKODUCTOKY   ESSAY.                                     57
respectively of the Caspian steppes and North Persia on the
one hand, and of Siberia cu the other, have been described by
liussian botanists, and especially by Ledebour,, Bunge, Tur-
czamnow, C. A. Meyer,, and Fischer, besides being rendered
classical by the labours of Gmelin and Pallas.
Boissier's (Diagnoses Plantaruin Orientalium/ published in
the (Annales des Sciences Naturelles/ contain descriptions of
many new Persian and Levantine plants, mainly from the
collections of Kotschy and Aucher-EIoy, which are also com-
mon to Western Tibet, Afghanistan, Sind, and Beluchistan.
We have largely availed ourselves of the excellent descriptions
in these diagnoses, though differing from their truly learned
author in his estimate of the influence of climate and the
effects of variation. M. JBoissier's knowledge of the South
European and Mediterranean. Uora is, we believe, unrivalled,
and derived from personal experience acquired during several
years spent in exploring indefatigably the Spanish, Grecian,
and Oriental floras, of which we have numerous representa-
tives in India,, and we therefore record our dissent from the
views of so great a botanist, on the limits of species especially,
with the most sincere respect, and with considerable diffidence.
It would be out of place here to enumerate the European
and Mediterranean Floras of which we have made daily use;
there^e few of them that we have not been obliged to con-
sult-1 especially with reibrcnce to the critical discrimination of
plants belonging to such genera as Ranunculus^ Delphinium,
Acotiitum* etc., etc. So many of these floras are mei*e com-
pilations, or made up of local varieties ranked as species, or
studios of the plants of particular areas, treated of without
reference to their value as members of the vegetable kingdom,
that we find ourselves, when studying any of the large Euro-
pean genera, plunged into, a maze of difficulties, to extricate
ourselves from which it has been necessary to work out each
species al ittitio, and from a study of all its forms. Koch's
* Flora Germauica' for descriptions, and Eeicheiibach's * Icoixes *
for illustrations, are both accurate and useful; and in Vivi*